Friday, 22 July 2011

Slight disruption to service...

I'm off on holiday for two weeks tomorrow, so there will be some minor disruption to the blog. Thanks to Apple and the fantastic iPhone however I will be taking cyberspace with me.

There will be fewer embedded videos, pictures and lengthy articles, but Normal Nerds will still bring you links and snippets of nerd-news as we always do.

The best way to follow over the next two weeks will be via twitter, but keep stopping by the site as I'll post as often as is convenient.


Revan novel gets a cover

The cover to the Star Wars: The Old Republic tie-in novel featuring the ex-Darth Revan has been revealed.

You can pre-order on amazon:
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan

Green Lantern expansion trailer for DC Universe Online

Source: Blog of Oa

Batman: Arkham City - Penguin Trailer and Talia Al Ghul

Stana Katic announced that she would be playing Talia in the game a year ago, but her appearance hasn't been confirmed by WB and Rocksteady until now.

Follow the link if you need some background on Solomon Grundy or Talia Al Ghul.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Amazing Spider-man trailer

Batman Live trailer

Marvel's 'Season One' graphic novel series reintroduces their heroes

Well done Marvel. I may actually buy some of your stuff for the first time since Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men finished! X-Men and Daredevil have caught my eye, but I've read so many interpretations of Spider-man's origin, that I don't think I could manage it.
Marvel are releasing a series of original graphic novels, similar to DC Comics' Earth One series, but it looks as if they are much more organised about it. So far DC have only released Superman: Earth One.

For those who don't want to read their granddaddy's old comics, Marvel is launching a Season One line of original graphic novels — the publisher's first — next year to honor the company's 50th anniversary. The hardcover books star a new, young generation of today's comic creators bringing a modern voice and sensibility to tales of classic Marvel heroes and teams.

"We're hoping to introduce folks who have never read any of these characters to these characters in this format, and also provide an interesting and illuminating story for people who have read a lot of Fantastic Four and Daredevil," says Brevoort, Marvel's senior vice president and executive editor.

"If you want to dip your toe in the water and find out the essence of what Marvel is all about, here is a nice place for you to start in big, sizable, meaty chunks."

The first wave of four graphic novels will include:

•Fantastic Four: Season One by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Stephen King's The Stand, Glee) and David Marquez (Secret Warriors), due out in February;
•X-Men: Season One by Dennis Hopeless (Legion Of Monsters) and Jamie McKelvie (Phonogram), on sale in March;

•Daredevil: Season One by Antony Johnston (Daredevil) and Wellinton Alves (Nova), in April;

•Spider-Man: Season One by Cullen Bunn (Fear Itself: The Deep, Sixth Gun) and Neil Edwards (Fantastic Four), arriving in May.

Brevoort says a second wave will debut soon afterward "that will get deeper into other characters, as well."
In teaming creators, Marvel looked at people such as Aguirre-Sacasa, who did a significant run on Fantastic Four a few years ago and also helped overhaul Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. "He's not someone who makes his daily bread on doing monthly comics. That gives his work a little more pop here," Brevoort says.

"We tended to gravitate toward newer, younger writers in the field. They have not been so far around the block that they're stuck down either by their own tropes or by the tropes of the medium."
Some might think this is a similar initiative as the Ultimate Universe, but the Ultimate comics that began in 2000 were overhauls of Marvel characters. Season One isn't the beginning of an entirely new universe, however.

"Everything you know about them, everything that's existed for the last 50 years still exists and is still there," Brevoort says. "These are individually new stories, even though they've got bits and pieces of old and formative origin stuff in and around them, as well."
They're not simple retellings of the origin stories, either. While you'll get a sense of that — such as the Fantastic Four shooting off into space and Peter Parker getting bit by a radioactive spider — the Season One graphic novels will focus on tales that define the characters and their relationships with each other.
"We know a lot more now obviously about what Spider-Man would grow into than anybody had any idea in 1962, and the same with Daredevil and same with the X-Men," Brevoort says. "We're able to act with a little more forethought and foreknowledge as to how these characters will grow and evolve during that period."
The Marvel books of 1961 — when the Fantastic Four first burst onto the scene thanks to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby— were the cutting edge of storytelling for the time, giving quirks and differing personalities to superheroes.
But comics are more sophisticated and cinematic in 2011, Brevoort says, and the nuance and subtlety of a more modern era will be reflected in the new line — along with certain touches of today such as cellphones.
The marketplace for the hefty graphic-novel format and increasing acceptance of it has also grown to the point where "there are plenty of more ordinary people who maybe don't feel so comfortable reading an average comic book on the train, but who don't think anything about reading something in a trade paperback or graphic-novel format. These are perfect outreaches to that kind of audience," Brevoort says.
"A contemporary will find more to their liking hopefully and more to their speed than simply going back and re-reading the early Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Although we welcome you to do that, as well."

Source: USA Today


Soon we could have LEGO Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman to join the LEGO Batman team. Oh, I wish I was 8 again....

As a little preview here is some DC Universe/LEGO art that I found on DeviantArt. Story after the break.


Warner Bros. has expanded its relationship with Lego, granting the toymaker access to DC Entertainment's complete library of comicbook characters and stories to launch DC Universe "Super Heroes" as figures and playsets.
The multi-year licensing deal, made through Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will start rolling out the new line in January, starting with 13 characters, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and villains the Joker, Bane, Harley Quinn and Lex Luthor.

The first toys will be shown off at the Lego booth at Comic-Con Intl. in San Diego, where 3,000 exclusive Batman and Green Lantern minifigures will be distributed to launch a promo that runs August-December, enabling fans to create and submit videos, photos or illustrations of the characters to win trips to Legoland and Warner Bros. Studios.

WB and Lego had already been producing toys and videogames around the Batman franchise, and will launch a new set of playthings around next summer's "The Dark Knight Rises" through the Lego Batman collection. The "Lego Batman: The Videogame," published by WB Bros. Interactive Entertainment, has sold more than 12 million units since 2008."This partnership gives builders a chance to recreate the characters, vehicles and worlds of some of the most iconic super heroes, so they can relive the action and even customize it, a proven and winning formula in Lego construction," said Jill Wilfert, VP, licensing and entertainment for the Lego Group.
Source: Variety

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Uncharted at Comic-Con!

Drake's Deception is heading to Comic-Con with some statues, a new book and a comic book tie-in from DC Comics.
What better place than Comic-Con to talk about a comic book that takes place in the UNCHARTED universe? That’s right, we’ve been working with DC Comics to develop a comic book series featuring Nathan Drake.
UNCHARTED #1 launches Nathan Drake on a journey to the center of the earth on a quest to see the legendary “Amber Room.” As enemies from Sir Francis Drake’s past come for revenge on his descendant, Drake must use all the skills at his disposal to stay one step ahead of the game. UNCHARTED #1 is written by Joshua Williamson (SUPERMAN/BATMAN), with fantastic art by Francesco Francavilla (DETECTIVE COMICS) and featuring covers by the legendary Adam Hughes. The comic series is scheduled to debut just in time for the release of UNCHARTED 3: Drake’s Deception in stores. Stay tuned for more details soon!
It wouldn’t be Comic-Con if we couldn’t get you something exclusive from one of the artists working on the UNCHARTED comic book series – the one and only ADAM HUGHES will be signing a limited-edition UNCHARTED cover art poster on Friday and Sunday during SDCC 2011.

Announced nearly a year ago, the UNCHARTED team, Random House, and author Chris Golden have been working together to create an original novel set in the universe of the UNCHARTED games. The description of UNCHARTED: THE FOURTH LABYRINTH is below, along with a little info on author Chris Golden.
In UNCHARTED: THE FOURTH LABYRINTH, Nathan Drake will embark on an all-new, original, action-packed adventure. When Nathan’s partner, Sully, asks for his help in finding a friend’s murderer, Nathan begins to unravel a mystery that will uncover some even bigger secrets. Sully’s friend was close to discovering an ancient process of turning lead into gold – a secret that a shadowy international corporation would do anything to steal, and now Nathan and Sully may be their next targets! This thrilling adventure will take Nathan from the ruins of Crete to a secret crypt deep in the heart of China–and into a mysterious labyrinth that may be hiding the greatest secret of all!

Christopher Golden is the award-winning, bestselling author of such novels as The Ferryman, Strangewood, The Gathering Dark, and The Body of Evidence series of teen thrillers. Working with actress/writer/director Amber Benson, he co-created and co-wrote Ghosts of Albion, an animated supernatural drama for BBC online. Golden has also written or co-written a great many books and comic books related to the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” as well as the scripts for two Buffy video games. His recent comic book work includes the creator-owned Nevermore and DC Comics’ Doctor Fate: The Curse. There are more than eight million copies of his books in print.


Source: PS Blog

Star Wars: The Old Republic pre-order and boxart leaked?

A Polish game site may have leaked that a lightsaber crystal will be the preorder bonus for Star Wars: The Old republic.

Oh, and the box art as well... I'd imagine that the actually box art is fairly similar (minus mentions of preorder).

Source: Massively JoyStiq

Dan DiDio and Jim Lee explain the changes to DC Comics and the DCU

Newsarama talked to senior members of DC Comics, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, about the changes that are coming to the DC Universe in September.It is quite a lengthy interview, so please click on the post title to read the whole thing.
Check out my earlier post on why Ithink the DCnU relaunch may be a missed oportunity.

Newsarama: Dan and Jim, the news just broke about what's coming for Superman, and there are a lot of changes to his status. We've already been told there are few if any changes to Batman. So why change Superman so much?

Dan DiDio: It's one of the things we were looking at, how the storylines and characters were working. We saw a number of things we wanted to change with Superman because we've gone down so many roads with the character, in regards to the "Grounded" storyline, we've looked at things that took place with the "War of Krypton." We've looked over the last few years at what we've been doing and the changes we've been making with Superman.

But we also wanted to get back to some of the grass roots of the character. And some of the best ways to do that is to really go back to the early days of the character, where you see him in his formative years, learning his powers, and learning how people react to him, as we'll be examining in Action Comics. But also, we want to re-examine his relationships, because we think there's a lot of fertile ground about him and the people he deals with."

Nrama: But Dan, these changes are huge. There must have been something you felt was just not working with the way Superman was going. Was it too complicated? Did he feel too old? Was it that people couldn't relate to him? Or what?

DiDio: I think in some cases, he felt a little old. We've made Superman such an iconic figure over the years that we've lost some of the character and the ability to tell stories with that character. There's so much continuity that's been built on this character. We really wanted to get a Superman that is more accessible to the audience.

And one of the reasons we did it with Superman is it was done once before, and very successfully. We're hoping for the same luck here.

Director Neil Burger on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune movie

Director Neil Burger spoke to Collider about the Uncharted: Drake's Fortune movie. It sounds like he's got a good handle on it to me. I'm very pleased that he's being honest about wanting to keep as many things from the game as possible, but only if they fit into a movie structure. How refreshing.

“We’re rewriting it, and I’m just jumping in right now to do it. The deal really has just closed, so it’s very, very new. I’m basically writing it from scratch. So, it’s a ways off, but it’s very exciting to have something that could be a franchise. I like it, and I like that it’s a bit different from a lot of the science fiction stuff that’s out there. I like that it’s a classic, great adventure.”

“I think that the game has a really cinematic quality to it, and it has a wild feel to it, and I like the characters. I like the character of Nate. I know guys like him, who are either war correspondents or extreme adventurers – these guys that are living in a very different way and who are slightly hustlers or con-men. I think it’s a great character. All that stuff is there, the trick is to make it into a movie. There’s a lot of moments in the video game that are very cool and very intense. I would use as many of them as I could, if they work into the film’s story.”

“I just think you have to make the best movie you can. Something like Indiana Jones was updating 1930′s B-movies. In the same way, we’re inspired by the video game, but we have to do what a movie does best. What the gamers like is that it looks real and that you can be this person and do these amazing things. In a way, we need to do the same thing, but in the world of movies. We need to make it exhilarating and wild, and make you completely identify with this character and take you along on this ride, where you are this character and you feel it.”

Source: Collider

A summary of The Riddler in Arkham City

The Riddler presented by Arkham Asylum was perfectly aligned with the comic book version that we have been familiar with for years. Arrogant, superior and desperate to prove his intelligence. His compulsion for leaving clues to his crimes has been said to stem from a desire to show off how smart he is, by out-witting the law. Of course, once he was introduced to the Batman, his mission became proving that he is smarter than the Bat.
Edward Nigma's presence in Arkham Asylum was purely aural. He would set harmless challenges via radio signal. If you were dedicated enough to track down all the Riddler's challenges in Arkham Asylum, then you know how Batman embarrassed him. Locked-up without so much as a confrontation. The Riddler is furious at this lack of acknowledgement and is out for revenge.
The third issue of the Arkham City digital exclusive comics revealed just how Riddler bought help from Poison Ivy and the Broker to escape from prison and set himself up in Arkham City before it's completion. Through the patient interviews in Arkham Asylum we were given hints at a darker side to The Riddler. It's not until we look at Arkham City's Riddler that we begin to see just how twisted his compulsion has made him. The riddles now have the added risk of human life. Nigma has kidnapped innocent aid-workers and Arkham staff in order to bait his Bat-traps. No longer can Batman ignore the Riddler's taunts, he must answer them to save lives.
As Batman attempts to save these innocents, the Riddler will taunt him via projected images; building the tension and frustration until the Batman can track him down for a more personal interaction. These deathtraps aren't simple obstacle courses. Batman will have to think quickly to figure out exactly how to traverse the hazards that lie between him and the hostage and how to get them out alive.

Below we look at the Riddler challenges presented in Arkham Asylum and look at how they may have changed for Arkham City.

Secrets map
In Arkham Asylum, each area contained a secrets map that not only counted towards your target of 240 complete riddles, but actually revealed on Batman's map where the riddles were located for that area.
The Riddler in Arkham City, however, has done away with these maps. Instead, Batman must locate Riddler's informants within the various gangs and interrogate them to reveal the locations of riddle challenges. Once you have solved enough of these challenges Riddler will then reveal to Batman the location of another hostage.

Alignment puzzles
Dotted around Arkham Asylum were spray painted question marks that could only be seen in Detective Mode. The trick to solving these was to find the right place to stand in order to align the punctuation symbol up correctly. Whilst some of these were simple, others required that you find new paths in order to complete the puzzle.
The Riddler trailer for Arkham City hints that we may see more alignment puzzles as the letters move into alignment, however, this has not been confirmed.

Riddler trophies
These little green question marks were dotted around the Asylum last time around, often in areas that, whilst off the beaten track, were fairly easy to get to.
In Arkham City, the Riddler has upped the ante. There are apparently 400 of these hidden in the open-air prison and don't expect all of them to be easy to reach.
One of the new features that batman has to contend with are pressure pads. These are tied directly to opening the trophy traps (right). In some cases Batman will be able to stand on them and retrieve the trophy using the Batclaw, in other more challenging cases, batman will have to showcase his acrobatic abilities in order to springboard from one pressure pad to another, in sequence, for the trophy trap to be opened. Other trophies can be collected by guiding a remote-controlled batarang through vents or around obstacles to hit an out-of-reach switch.
Pressure pad to the left of Batman's cape tip opens the trap above his head.

Chronicles of Arkham
Whilst not technically set by the Riddler, these archives did count toward the World's Greatest Detective achievement. I would imagine that there will be something similar in Arkham City that reveals the history of the area and how it was transformed into the prison by Strange and Sharp.
Again, this has not been confirmed.

Each area of Arkham Asylum had several riddles that could be answered by scanning the appropriate part of the environment. Whilst some of these were more subtle than others, there were often things that stood out as 'this is a riddler challenge'. It appears that in Arkham City the Riddler's security can be hacked using the cryptographic sequencer by entering the answer to a riddle. Perhaps this means that the environmental answers will be played down in favour of inputting an answer. this would certainly make things harder for Batman. If the riddles hidden within the recent Riddler trailer are anything to go by then Arkham City's riddles are going to be fiendishly difficult.

Joker Teeth
Without a doubt, the most annoying 'riddle' in Arkham Asylum was destroying all the sets of Joker teeth that were scattered around. Hopefully these won't make a return appearance. If they do however, they should pose some kind of threat which gives Batman more of a reason to destroy them.

Interview Tapes
The interview tapes in Arkham Asylum gave both an insight into the fractured minds of the key inmates as well as a background narrative depicting the lead-up to the game's events. A preview of ArkhamRiddler may know what Hugo Strange is up to. He certainly has no fear when addressing Arkham's new warden; could he be trying to prove that he is smarter than both Batman and Strange?

One thing is for certain, last time the Riddler was playing, this time he's out for blood.

Barenaked Ladies full Big Bang Theory theme

Monday, 18 July 2011

Superman books in October

Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:200 B&W variant cover by RAGS MORALES
On sale OCTOBER 5 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
In his weakest moment, Superman is taken down – but by whom? And if the world wasn’t ready for a man with super powers, they’re utterly unprepared for the rage of a Superman cornered! The cornerstone character of the new DCU continues his debut adventure!

Breakdowns and cover by GEORGE PEREZ
On sale OCTOBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The all-new adventures of Superman continue! Everyone can see the new villain who’s attacking Superman – except The Man of Steel! How can he stop a threat that none of his super-senses can detect? Meanwhile, a Daily Planet reporter starts digging up some dirt on Superman, including a secret that could ruin him forever!

On sale OCTOBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has put a lot of effort into creating their Superboy, and they intend to make sure he performs to their standards. And what better opportunity for him to demonstrate his raw power than to throw him into an alien prison riot? Good luck, Superboy... you’re going to need it!

On sale OCTOBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Get ready for a super-smackdown as Supergirl fights her cousin, The Man of Steel! What could cause these two to come to blows? Can the teenage Supergirl hold her own against the adult Superman? Well, let’s just say she’s got a trick or two up those fancy new sleeves of hers...
Source: Newsarama

The Dark Knight Rises Official Teaser Trailer

Avengers trailer leaked

Apparently, this will be playing after the Captain America credits...

Action Comics #1 cover for September

"This is a young Superman who still believes a better world for everyone is possible," said writer Grant Morrison, who'll be chronicling the Man of Steel's days as the world's first superhero when DC Comics relaunches its entire line of comics in September.
The Post got a sneak peek ahead of this week's San Diego Comic-Con.
While most of the titles, including "Batman" and "Green Lantern," will showcase DC's iconic heroes when they're well into their careers, "Action Comics" shows the earliest adventures of Superman, who's initially a bluejeans-and-T-shirt-wearing crimefighter with a small red cape.
"We felt it was time for the big adventures of a 21st-century Paul Bunyan who fights for the weak and downtrodden against bullies of all kinds, from robot invaders and crime lords to corrupt city officials," said Morrison, a former "X-Men" writer.
"The new look reflects his status as a street-level defender of the ordinary man and woman."
The series will show how Clark Kent becomes the world's foremost superhero and how he got his iconic costume, which has been tweaked in the new continuity -- meaning no more red briefs.
Source: NYTimes